Deputy Prime Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon and Transportation Minister Israel Katz on Saturday sharply criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his handling of Judea and Samaria settlements, both stressing their objection to the evacuation of the Ulpana Hill neighborhood, which is slated to be demolished in a month.
The Defense Ministry responded with a mocking statement, saying that “Katz and Ya’alon must have contracted a severe case of ‘Feiglinism’ (a reference to Moshe Feiglin who has been threatening for more than a decade to take the helm at the Likud party from Primi Minister Netanyahu, and to bolster the representation of religious members and settlers). This isn’t good for the state, for its security, its future and the good of the public in general.”
Sources close to Barak joked with Walla News: “We hope that, for the sake of the public and its elected representatives in the Knesset, it will turn out that this ‘Feiglinism’ isn’t contagious.”
Speaking at a cultural event in B’er Sheva, Ya’alon said that if the Attorney General and the Ministry of Defense persist in their plan to evacuate the Ulpana Hill in Beit El, this would lead to the collapse of the Netanyahu government.
“We’ve agreed at the beginning of the term of this government that we would complete the certification of the design and construction processes. Suddenly, we witness only the joy of destruction and no arrangement,” Ya’alon said.
“We are forced to deal with a problem like the Ulpana Hill, where normal people have taken out mortgages, while at the Ministry of Defense and the AG are rushing to destroy the place. We have declared that we would not remove this neighborhood,” he added.
Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Katz, who was visiting the Ulpana Hill neighborhood in Beit El, said that he had come to make his position clear, that the neighborhood homes should not be destroyed. He criticized the Defense Minister: “He took the Ministry of Defense and turned it into a political tool at the expense of residents. There are other ways to gather votes.”
Katz added that “it is necessary to update the government’s position regarding the Ulpana Hill neighborhood. There is no doubt that in its initial response to the High Court, the State did not take into account all the consequences.”
In recent weeks, following the High Court’s order to evacuate the Ulpana Hill in Beit El by May 1, Likud ministers have been applying great pressure on the Prime Minister to prevent the eviction, and last week Netanyahu has held several meetings on the future of the neighborhood, where dozens of families live in multi-story apartment buildings, constructed with funding from the Ministry of Housing.